Tinnitus, as with many chronic conditions, has a mental health aspect to it. It isn’t just a matter of dealing with the symptoms. It’s coping with the symptoms continuously never knowing for sure if they will go away. Unfortunately, for some, tinnitus can result in depression.
Chronic tinnitus has been linked to a higher rate of suicide, particularly among women, according to research published in the Journal of American Medical Association and performed by Stockholm Public Health Cohort (SPHC).
Suicide And Tinnitus, What’s The Connection?
Scientists at the SPHC surveyed around 70,000 people to establish the connection between suicide and tinnitus (large sample sizes are necessary to generate reliable, scientific results).
According to the answers they received:
- Tinnitus symptoms were reported by 22.5% of respondents.
- Suicide attempts happened with 9% of women with significant tinnitus.
- 5.5% of men with profound tinnitus had suicide attempts.
- A hearing specialist diagnosed tinnitus in only 2.1% of respondents.
It’s obvious that women with tinnitus have a higher instance of suicide and researchers are trying to raise awareness for them. And most people with tinnitus symptoms, according to this research, don’t get their tinnitus diagnosed by a hearing specialist. Not only are there therapies for tinnitus, many people experience relief by wearing hearing aids.
Are These Findings Universal?
This research must be replicated in other areas of the world, with different population sizes, and ruling out other variables before we can come to any broad generalizations. In the meantime, we should take these findings seriously.
What’s The Underlying Meaning of This Research?
The study was inconclusive about why women had an increased suicide rate than men but that was definitely the result. There are numerous reasons why this might be but the data doesn’t identify any one reason why this might be.
Here are some things to pay attention to:
Some Tinnitus is Not “Severe”
First off, the vast majority of individuals who have noticed tinnitus don’t have “severe” tinnitus. That doesn’t mean modest or slight instances of tinnitus do not offer their own challenges. But the statistical correlation between suicide and women with tinnitus was most evident (and, thus, denotes the greatest risk) with those who rated their tinnitus as severe.
Most of The Participants Weren’t Diagnosed
Most of the participants in this research who described moderate to severe symptoms didn’t get diagnosed and that is probably the next most surprising conclusion.
This is, possibly, the most significant area of possibility and one of the best ways to reduce suicide or other health concerns simultaneously. That’s because treatment for tinnitus can present many overall advantages:
- Individuals who are treated for tinnitus can learn to better regulate their symptoms.
- Hearing impairment can be treated and tinnitus is frequently a warning sign.
- Depression is frequently improved with tinnitus treatment.
Tinnitus And Hearing Loss
It’s estimated that 90 percent of individuals with tinnitus have hearing impairment, and studies indicate that hearing aids help manage the symptoms of tinnitus. As a matter of fact, some hearing aids are designed with added features to help tinnitus symptoms. To learn if hearing aids can help you, set up an appointment.